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Women in Saudi....
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12751
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:58 pm    Post subject: Et al Reply with quote

Dear Truth Hurts,
Actually, the "et al" ARE part of my culture - i.e. capital punishment and imprison(ing) people without due process simply on the basis of their race, religion or national origin. And I totally agree with Cleopatra about female circumcision/mutilation that " if the women experiencing such a thing are happy about it, then fine." By the way , I don't mind at all when, say, Arabs, point out instances in the USA culture where we're guilty of hypocrisy and ethical/moral failings. Is this what you'd call "excesses of an over categorization of a culture"? I don't see how we can discuss whether any culture is guilty of violating basic human rights without citing some specific examples. Perhaps I'm still misunderstanding your meaning, though. If so, please feel free to correct my misapprehensions.
Regards,
John
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Truth Hurts



Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Posts: 115
Location: Truthville

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Et al Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
By the way , I don't mind at all when, say, Arabs, point out instances in the USA culture where we're guilty of hypocrisy and ethical/moral failings. Is this what you'd call "excesses of an over categorization of a culture"?


No! When an entire culture is reduced and represented exclusively in terms of female circumcision and other perceived repressions, this is what I call "excesses of overcategorization" because they are meaningless insofar as understanding the vastness and richness of a culture. It has nothing to do with morality rather the politics of representation, ie. how a dominant culture represents another culture. How WE represent THEM and how THEY represent US.

As for the discourse on human rights, this again is a very particularized way of looking at the world. It is by NO means a universal! Other cultures frame or conceptualize the issues differently without deference to the US. And you know what? I'm actually very cynical about the whole HR discourse; far as I'm concerned, it's all about politics: opening up Saudi society and creating new markets for corporate America.

Now check this: Take a stroll in downtown Riyadh at midninght with your wife and kids and then do the same in downtown New York, Chicago, and LA and you can see wht they don't need any lessons from us on HR's.

TH
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12751
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 9:06 pm    Post subject: Rights and wrongs Reply with quote

Dear Truth Hurts,
It would seem to me that our fundamental disagreement is about whether there are such things as "basic human rights". I happen to think there are, and I can see violations of those rights both in my culture and in other cultures. I am not interested in doing this:

"When an entire culture is reduced and represented exclusively in terms of female circumcision and other perceived repressions."

any more than I'm sure you were when you mentioned this:

"Why do we pontificate about human rights and in the US we've got the death penalty, Guantanamo bay justice, daily collateral damage in Iraq, and more WMD's then the whole world put together?"

I'm not interested in making "political capital" out of what I see as human rights violations in other lands; what I'd like to see first is the USA cleaning up its own house. Nevertheless, I'd also like to see other countries also addressing that issue.

Why, by the way, did you answer this in the negative:

"By the way , I don't mind at all when, say, Arabs, point out instances in the USA culture where we're guilty of hypocrisy and ethical/moral failings. Is this what you'd call "excesses of an over categorization of a culture"?


" No! When an entire culture is reduced and represented exclusively in terms of female circumcision and other perceived repressions, this is what I call "excesses of overcategorization" because they are meaningless insofar as understanding the vastness and richness of a culture."

Wouldn't those Arabs be as "guilty" (as you say I am) of reducing and representing the USA's culture exclusively in terms of whatever their specific charges might be? And I do think that basic human rights ARE universal - seeing as we're all human.

Moreover, aren't you also reducing and representing the USA's culture exclusively in terms of how safe it is to walk on the streets at night when you wrote this:

"Take a stroll in downtown Riyadh at midninght with your wife and kids and then do the same in downtown New York, Chicago, and LA and you can see wht they don't need any lessons from us on HR's."

Do we - all of us - "need lessons from others". I'd say so, and even though the present administration is seemingly deaf to such lessons, I, for one, was glad to see so many people all over the world protesting the Iraqi invasion and the continued protests over what is essentially that county's occupation. I believe that some of the behavior of governments is manifestly wrong, and when that's the case, then it behooves decent people everywhere to protest against those actions. Don't you believe that the behavior of the present USA administration is violating some basic human rights? I certainly do, and I am not going to keep quiet about it, as I guess I'd have to if I thought there were NO universal human rights.
Regards,
John


Last edited by johnslat on Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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johnyarrington



Joined: 16 Feb 2003
Posts: 66
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 4:53 pm    Post subject: Women in Saudi weird, Saudi weird Reply with quote

Saudis are weird, the end.

Their culture is weird, the country is weird, they're weird. Ask any other Arab.

Ask a Saudi! I have, many times. Different ways.

I'm learning new words every day, after fooling around with Arabic for 10 years or so, finally starting to read the language a bit, and it's weird. At least the way they use it.

Weird, weird, weird.

You finally break the barrier of finding SOME WAY to learn the language; ("Why you want learn??!!" "O.K.! Go to University!!" "Broblem, very broblem!" and when you do find a way (I have), it just gets more and more weird.

I kinda like it here, though.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12751
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:13 pm    Post subject: Weird Tales Reply with quote

Dear John,

"I kinda like it here, though."

Easy to explain - you're weird, too.

Regards,
John

P.S. OK, OK - I kinda liked it, too. So, guess we're both pretty weird.
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heard the latest?

Now Clinton, in his speech to the Jeddah Economic Forum, is saying that SAudi women should be allowed to drive, saying that the Prophet's wife wwould have done so! Well, I suppose he had to earn his massive appearance fee somehow!

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=38287&d=20&m=1&y=2004

I think John may be on to something - it looks like we're seeing some serious "stage setting" here. How much Bill's opinions will matter to your average Muhammed or Fatima, however, is open to question.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12751
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 8:26 pm    Post subject: A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke Reply with quote

Dear Cleopatra,
Well, you have to remember, though, that Bill has always been a BIG proponent of women's rights - the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, etc. - and of their access to the "seats of power", so to speak. In his mind, I imagine a country without women interns would be a benighted and uncivilized one, indeed.
Regards,
John
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12751
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:32 am    Post subject: An unveiled threat Reply with quote

Ah, but the forces of tradition are not going to sit silently by:


http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=38345&d=21&m=1&y=2004

However, I woder if the Grand Mufti would mind pointing out just where in the Qu'ran it states that a woman must be veiled:

" 'We followed up what happened at the forum and which should be denounced... namely, the mixing of men and women and the latterís appearance without wearing the hijab ordered by God,' the mufti said."

Hijab? The veil is hijab? News to me.

Regards,
John

P.S. Some slight grammatical errors there, as well, I'd say. Shouldn't latter's be latters', referring back to women? And then there's "followed up" - unless that's a British usage I'm unaware of, wouldn't "observed" be a more accurate word?
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Jim Bigelow



Joined: 23 Oct 2003
Posts: 175
Location: KSA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear John:

As for the word itself then Hijab means to cover something or to place a barrier between something. A hijab could be used to cover the hair or face. A curtain that covers a window would be termed as a 'hijab' Not sure which context the Mufti was using it though! Tinted car windows create a 'hijab' bewteen the person on the inside and those looking in.

Opinion is divided as to what should be covered. It seems all the Islamic Scholars are in agreement that the women's hair must be covered when out and about but there is some discussion on whether the women's face must also be covered.

One of the main verses quoted from the Qu'ran regarding the obligation of covering (regardless of whether it includes the face or not) is:

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect themselves from illegal sexual acts . That is purer for them. Verily, All‚h is All-Aware of what they do
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect themselves from illegal sexual acts, and not to show off their beauty except that which is apparent , and to draw their veils over Juyubihinna (the body from the head downwards
Chapter 'The Light' Verse 31-32

From my understanding this discussion has been going on for well over the last thousand years and would be surprised to see it end on Daves!

Hope it sheds some light!
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12751
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 3:24 pm    Post subject: What's behind the veil? Reply with quote

Dear Jim Bigelow,
Hmm, I have a slightly different version of the quote you gave:

". . . and say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons..." [Al-Qur'an 24:31]

As you see, whereas yours says: "the body from the head downwards",
mine says: " . . . that they should draw veils over their bosoms . . . "

http://www.islamicquest.org/faq/women-rights-in-islam-three.htm

However, you're certainly right about the discussion's/disagreement's having gone for so many years and I also doubt we'll settle it here.
Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16066
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,

Yes, it's not likely that any non-Muslim discussion of veiling will change anything, not that it should. Interpreting Holy Scripture is not an easy task. I too had read a translation of the Quran and was unable to find anywhere a verse that suggested the extreme measures taken by some countries.

Repeatedly I had female students who told me that they 'must' cover because it said so in the Quran. On a number of occasions I asked them if they could please tell me which Surah and verse said this as I was unable to find it in my translation. They had obviously never questioned it and none were able to come back with a Quranic source.

It was a male student in Oman who finally had an answer for me. It is in the Sunna of the Prophet. Mohammed was asked to interpret the Quranic verses on female modesty and that is the ruling that many accept. He did not specify the covering of the face or hands -- and even more importantly, the ruling was to cover both men and women. This was the reason that the Omani men also always wear something on their head - except in their own homes.

VS
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, VS, I too have had the experience of asking female Saudis to tell me just where the Kor'an says they should cover their faces, and have similarly encountered a brick wall. I strongly suspect they have simply been told that all good Muslim women should cover their faces and they have never even thought to question it. When I said to one girl "Oh but, there are lots of Muslims here from other Arab countries, and they don't cover", she shrugged and said "Oh but that's OK, they're not Saudi". When I reminded here that they were Muslims too, she didn't seem to see my point, so I left it at that.

The Mufti's comments were predictable, but I wonder if his day in the sun is now over - or fading? People of his ilk will always be apopleptic about the sight of an unveiled woman - mixing with men, at that! But I doubt if his comments will have the same impact they might have had only a few years ago. But only time will tell.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12751
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:06 pm    Post subject: Attitudes Reply with quote

Dear Cleopatra,
Social change - the acceptance of new attitudes - is always going to take a while, and there will always be those who want to hang onto the "traditional" ideas. Look at the USA; we still have a fair number of males - and females - who strongly believe that "a women's place is ONLY in the home" and that " in the family, the husband is the boss and the wife is his helpmate". That's in a place where women's rights have been a prominent issue and actively promoted for at least the last 35 years. So while it may seem an extremely slow process, what's taking place in the Kingdom may actually be moving, relatively speaking, at a rather rapid pace.
Regards,
John
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Truth Hurts



Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Posts: 115
Location: Truthville

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John

When Christian missionaries first landed in Africa they were horrified by the nudity of some of the inhabitants there and in divine fashion set about correcting the natives' everyday mores. And that's pretty much how I see many self-important western expats behaving in 2004 as they arrogate to themselves the right to teach the "Saudi natives" on how the modern Homo Sapiens now dresses.

The issues of dress among others are fundamentally internal conflicts and entirely the business of Saudis who fully understand them, practice them and endorse them. I frankly find it utterly grotesque that such issues should be subjected to the judgement of a global audience particularly when the issues are formulated as bland generalizations that mean absolutely nothing to the average American and European. I mean since when does the world get the chance to contest the way the ordinary American dresses?

And it's disheartening to hear what's happening in France as the Grand Secular State is fussing over the headscarves of school girls and now even more ludicrously over the facial hair of young men. It's the sort of stuff that leads to concentration camps, pogroms, genocide, ethnic cleansing. What a vey short memory Europe has...

TH
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12751
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:58 pm    Post subject: Choice Reply with quote

Dear Truth Hurts,
Since when does the world get to contest the way the ordinary American woman dresses?

"I want to ask you a series of questions a Saudi mutawwa put to me recently: why do we Americans expect women to cover their brreasts, or to wear skirts, grow their hair long and live a monogamous life? "

Well, OK - one Saudi mutawwa isn't exactly "the world". But there was no lack of discussion and condemnation among Saudis (and other Moslems)regarding the shamelessness of how American women dress during my time in the Kingdom (and yet, the audiences for Orbit's scantily-clad females always seemed quite large).
Hey, I don't want to "teach Saudi women how to dress". If they want to wear veils, that's okey-dokey with me. But I do think it'd be better if, like the so many more millions of Moslem women in the world, Saudi women had a choice about whether or not to wear veils. As in France (or, for that matter, in Turkey), I see choice as an issue.
Regards,
John
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